Photo-Mix

By Weronika Kusmider

Photography, what a beautiful process that we all can engage with. From 1880, the craft and art form has come on leaps and bounds. When the craft started it involved huge pieces of equipment and technical know-how. Now, we all take images, whether on professional equipment or on our phones. The technologies we all have nowadays are literally quite remarkable. We are now seeing, as the art form moves forward with massive technological leaps, artists and image-makers taking a step forward by mixing up images with creative pursuits. They combine photos with different types of art such as music, sculpture. This idea of ‘hybrid photography’, a mix of photos with other art forms, is about making mix-media photography and moving forward creatively.
Our article here Photo-Mix focuses on artists who are exploring this idea further.

Did you know that any picture can be converted to audio? By using software such as Audacity, not only can you convert an image file to audio, but you can corrupt that image using other audio files.

Rowan Martin used this process in his project Sounds of the Universe. When preparing for this project, he used a Star Map tracker app to roughly figure out where certain planets are located. He took photos of the sky that show beautiful stars. After that, he found files of signals picked up by various NASA satellites and used those to corrupt his photos. This created eye-catching pictures, outstanding designs made by a combination of different data makes each photo quite unique.

Rowan Martin, Saturn (Original)

When the data of the picture is combined with data of a sound, the photo data does not understand the sound data. It then creates a new picture that looks like a corrupted version of the original one. Moreover, depending on the sound, its loudness, and music effects that can be applied to the audio waveform, the corruption of the picture is harsher or lighter.

Rowan Martin, Saturn (Corrupted)

Another artist that took mix-media photography a step further is Lindsey Seers. She started her adventure with photography by taking pictures with a camera placed in her mouth. Therefore, it looked like she was taking a picture of someone like they were a piece of food about to be swallowed.

Then she decided to create a life-size sculpture of herself which had a camera hidden in their mouth. When a person approached the sculpture, it would take a picture of them. These photographs were used later in the artist’s exhibitions. People’s reaction was shocking. How can this life-size doll scare them and take a photo of them? But that’s the beauty of hybrid. Something that we would not think could work together, does, and the results are phenomenal.

Everything happens for a reason. Things that we think would not work combined, become one, incredible thing. Again another perfect example of ‘photo-mix. This is what happened to Rowan Martin. His project Illusions might have been an accident, but it created beautiful pieces of art. Rowan took photos of the streets of London, developed them and then decided to make larger copies of them. Initially, wanted to have two different pictures on both sides of the paper. However, the universe did not want that. He put the paper in the copier the wrong way and the second photo was copied on top of the first one. Consequently, this created illusions of two worlds connecting into one.

Rowan Martin, Illusion 4

Some photos were copied upside down, which filled in the skies with landscapes of London. Is it still London, or is it just an illusion?

Rowan Martin, Illusion 1

Exploring the idea of photo-mix further, John Stezaker in his project Marriage took photos of men and women and connected them into one. As a result, this combination made it looks like it is just one person. Old photographs found by his partners, usually black and white, were connected with more recent, coloured ones. This was his way of showing how love allows souls and bodies to intertwine and how, just like a hybrid, two become one. Love connects people like nothing else does, no matter who they are and how they are.

Drawing and painting are some of the oldest art processes. However, when the first camera was invented, photography became a phenomenon not only within art but in everyday life. We say, out with the old, in with the new, but why not combine them? So for our last example of this idea of Photo-mix we share Ben Heine in his Pencil vs Camera project showed how outstanding a combination of these two can be. Pencil vs Camera connects drawing and photography to create one art piece. This combination is quite intriguing as it is not the usual mixed-media photography we think of, however that is the beauty of hybrid. Everything can be art.

Art drives our emotions. Regardless, of what it is, it stimulates our brains to take a deeper look into ourselves. The hybrid photography movement makes us believe that anything can work together. Most importantly, we just have to try and it certainly might be the most beautiful thing that ever happens to us.

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